India and the United States are likely to sign a Maritime Information Sharing Technical Arrangement (Mista) during the 2+2 (foreign and defence) meeting in New Delhi on October 26 and 27. Mista will make information and intelligence sharing smoother in the maritime domain, ET has learnt.
The naval intelligence sharing mechanism will help India as it steps up its presence across the Indo-Pacific region, according to persons familiar with the mechanism.
The pact is expected to work as a counter to China’s growing maritime ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region, including the Indian Ocean Region India’s maritime defence partnership with US has been robust with joint exercises, information sharing and logistics pact between the two navies. The US also intends to increase collaboration with Maldives and Bangladesh to establish a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
During the 2+2 summit, the two sides will explore a Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for sharing of geospatial information. However, internal discussions in India needs to be completed by then, a person familiar with the issue said. The two countries have signed the Industrial Security Annex and Comcasa during earlier 2+2 meetings.
Comcasa facilitates access to advanced defense systems and enables India to optimally utilise US origin platforms. Comcasa followed a US-India Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement in 2016 and the General Security of Military Information Agreement in 2002.
The situation along Line of Actual Control will be discussed during the 2+2 meeting. The Trump administration has criticised China for incursions in eastern Ladakh.
The 2+2 dialogue will also focus on Afghan situation and cross border terrorism too. India, the US and Japan will hold the next edition of the Malabar naval exercise by the end of November in the Indian Ocean Region. Australia may join the exercise too.